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A domain name registration service via the CIPC

Article provided by CIPC

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) introduced domain name registration services from 15 December 2017. This resulted from the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the CIPC and the ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) in the same year. For CIPC, the collaboration between CIPC and ZADNA is part of a journey that CIPC has embarked upon over several years to benefit small and medium entrepreneurs in their business endeavours. Indeed, the companies’ regulatory authority has come a long way. CIPC offers a range of integrated services to date, including the registration of a private company and acquiring a SARS tax number, UIF, and Compensation Fund reference numbers in a seamless manner.

There are several advantages to of registering a domain name. These include the following:

  1. Professional – a unique email address specific to a company is easier to remember and more professional;
  2. Trust – there are over 1 million registered domain names in South Africa;
  3. Identifiable – a country code extension, like .ZA, helps to identify a company’s geography.
  4. Safe and Secure – the.ZA has adopted the DNSSEC protocol, which helps to protect the integrity of a website and the privacy of users. 

In April 2021, the fee to register a domain name was adjusted to R63.25 (inclusive of VAT).   In view of the queries the CIPC received in relation to domain names, it is important to emphasise that although the registration process is seamless, CIPC does not handle the payment aspects of domain names, and thus queries regarding the payment made in relation to domain names must be directly addressed with ZA Central Registry (ZACR) support on 011 314 0077 or support@registry.net.za

With effect from December 2017, there have been over 10 000 domain names registered through the CIPC eService website and our self-service terminals located in our branches in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Customers are able to register domain names via our Bizportal.

It is significant to state that CIPC is not in competition with any service provider. The registration of domain names through the CIPC results from a collaboration agreement entered into by two regulators who committed to bringing much-needed services to emerging and medium enterprises. Thus, the CIPC only provides a registration function of domain names, after which customers should transfer a domain name to an accredited commercial registrars or internet service provider of their choice for web hosting, domain name support, updates, changes, email services, etc. There are more than 687 internet service providers accredited by the ZACR, a registry under ZADNA. The list of accredited commercial registrars or internet service providers can be accessed through the link https://www.registry.net.za/accredited .

Once a domain name has been successfully registered and transferred to an internet service provider, an annual/renewal fee will be due in 365 days (i.e. a year’s time). The selected accredited commercial registrar or internet service provider will determine the annual/renewal fee. Furthermore, the chosen accredited commercial registrar will also be responsible for providing a customer with renewal notifications, including the steps that must be taken to keep the domain name active. However, should a customer not hear from the accredited commercial registrar closer to the renewal date, customers are advised to make contact with the accredited commercial registrar. Customers can use ZACR’s WHOIS search tool to check the registration status of their domain name and look up their commercial registrar’s details.

Customers are reminded that should the domain name remain on the CIPC database and not be transferred to an accredited commercial registrar before the expiry date, it will enter the deletion process and eventually become available for registration by any other party. Upon registering a domain name via the CIPC, customers should use the provided link to begin the transfer process: https://www.registry.net.za/cipc

Customers should also note that once a domain name has been registered through CIPC, it cannot be changed. The customer , in the event of there no longer being a need for such a name, should instead register another domain name and let the unwanted domain name lapse after 365 days.

In the event of a dispute regarding a .ZA domain name between two entities, ZADNA has an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process that allows an aggrieved party to lodge a dispute to be resolved within a reasonable time cost-effectively. A dispute can be lodged through ZADNA’s accredited ADR providers, the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa , and the South African Institute of Intellectual Property Law. ZADNA provides financial assistance for such disputes in line with a set criteria  accessible on the ZADNA website namely https://www.zadna.org.za/our-mandate/our-core-mandate/rights-and-protection/

Indeed, it is only through collaborative efforts among public entities and between private and public organisations that small and medium entrepreneurs can be able to make a meaningful contribution to the socio-economic development of South Africa. The ease with which all entrepreneurs can conduct business in South Africa will ultimately benefit the growth and stability of the country’s economy.   

CIPC is a proud Partner of the NSBC